CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia 10th on provisional grid for Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America. ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN - FRIDAY AUGUST 1, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia 10th on provisional grid for Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America.

ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN - FRIDAY AUGUST 1, 2003 -- Round #12 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified 10th on the provisional grid for Sunday's Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Servia had a fast lap in qualifying of 1:45.654 (137.929 mph) in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires.

The 29-year-old Spaniard, who had expected to have a good baseline setup for the challenging 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America road circuit, was fourth on the speed charts following the first of two 50-minute morning practices with a quick time of 1:47.464 (135.606 mph). During the second session the team continued to develop the car and Sevia improved his time running a fast lap of 1:46.659 (136.630 mph), but dropped four positions to eighth place on both the individual and combined practice reports.

The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team continued to work with the setup during the ten-minute warm-up prior to qualifying. Servia posted a fast time of 1:48.791 (133.952 mph), which placed him 11th on the individual practice report, but left him eighth on the combined report after three practice sessions.

In qualifying, all the hard work began to pay off as Servia went out on his first set of tires and ran his fastest lap of the day. The quick time, run on the third lap of the first stint, put him first on the grid at the halfway point of the 40-minute qualifying session. After running two more laps the team realized that the tires were past their optimum, so they decided to pit. After waiting approximately 10 minutes for traffic and track conditions to improve, Servia went out on his second set of tires, but could not better his earlier time. However, he did clock his second fastest time of the day at 1:45.749.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team spent a lot of time working on the setup today, Servia began. "I think we made a lot of progress, but, obviously, we are not where we want to be," he said. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing engineering staff has a good idea of what we need to do and we are definitely headed in the right direction. We just need to go over all the data and figure out a program for tomorrow. I am confident that we can make the changes necessary to find some more speed and that we will be quicker in final qualifying," Servia concluded.

The resident of Miami, Florida will be making his fourth start at Road America this weekend. He qualified 14th and finished 10th in 2000, started 16th and placed 10th in 2001 and started ninth and finished 16th in 2002.

Servia has qualified in the top-10 at all 11 events this season, which is his CART career high. His highest starting position this year is fourth at Monterrey, Mexico; Brands Hatch, England and Cleveland, Ohio. Servia's best CART career qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001 (race was cancelled). His highest career starting position is fourth, first achieved at Nazareth in 2001, and then matched at the three events this season.

Servia has been one of the most consistent drivers this season. He has scored points in nine of the 11 races this year including top-six showings in seven of his last eight events and top-five showings in five of the last eight. Servia has earned a single season high five top-five finishes including a CART career best second place finish (Milwaukee). He has set personal CART career records for consecutive top-six finishes, seven, top- 10 showings, seven and points paying performances, eight. Servia is sixth in the standings with 76 points.

Now in his fourth CART season, Servia will be making his 65th career CART start and 22nd for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 64 CART career events he has earned 30 top-ten finishes including 11 top-five showings with two podium performances. In his 21 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 11 this year, Servia has finished in the points 14 times with 11 top-10 finishes including seven top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee).

Patrick Racing will be making its 30th start at Elkhart Lake. In 29 previous appearances the team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 18 times. Their best starting position is fourth (Andretti - '82; Cogan - '86; Fittipaldi - '88 and Pruett - '98). The team has 14 top-10 finishes, nine top-five showings and two wins (Fittipaldi - '86 and '88).

The Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America will be shown exclusively on the HDNet high-definition broadcast system. This will be a landmark broadcast for HDNet, which will offer more than 12 hours of live and original programming including extensive coverage of practice and qualifying on Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2 in addition to all the action on race day, August 3.

For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Mario Andretti
Teams HART